…. in short, it means you tried!
#PlasticFreeJuly is a global movement to cut out plastic from your routine in an attempt to see how much we use — and boy, do we use a lot of plastic.
From the obvious like plastic bottles and takeaway containers, to the less obvious like deodorant and food wrappers, plastic free July was a challenge for me.
I started off my July on a plane trip — and the first thing I did was accidentally accept a cookie from a flight attendant that was wrapped in — you guessed it! — plastic. I tried avoiding plastic where I could on my trip, considering I brought my own Stasher bags for storage and a reusable water bottle, but it was unavoidable for restaurant leftovers, plane snacks on the ride back, and coffee.
The rest of the month was a little better, but plastic still prevailed. If I forgot my reusable cup? Plastic. Restaurant leftovers? Plastic (most of which can’t be recycled, especially if it’s black plastic). Food packaging? Plastic.
The consequences of this? By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight). Fish that we consume have consumed microplastics, which means — you guessed it!!! — it’s in the food chain.
This leaves room for improvement! We can obviously remember to bring our bags to the grocery store, start bring containers with us to bring leftovers home, and remember our Final Straws so we can turn down straws at restaurants. Here are more things you can do to cut out plastic:
Be more mindful of what kinds of food you’re buying at the grocery store, in terms of packaging.
Maybe you love soda — ditch the plastic bottles for aluminum cans, which are easier to recycle. You may love buying pre-cut veggies, but think about how much plastic you’d save if you bought the vegetable in it’s true form and cut it yourself! Love your daily yogurt? Opt for a larger container and split it up into smaller servings at home — usually, the more convenient the item, the more packaging it has. And shop at a store with a bulk food section that lets you bring your own containers! These small changes in packaging can make a big wave.
Stop buying water plastic bottles.
Each American uses 16 bottles per month, and if we can start by cutting down on that (bottled water is TERRIBLE), that’s at least a start. If you’re worried about finding water on your travels, just fill up your bottle at any restaurant with a soda machine. If you’re still worried, check out FindTap — an app and map with free water stations all over the country (growing every day!).
Swap out your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
Take a look in your shower — is it full of plastic bottles? We don’t often think of our beauty routine as a place to make changes to our plastic consumption, but there are many, many ways to make change here.
Make the switch to shampoo and conditioner bars.
Lush has an entire line of package-free shampoo bars and solid conditioners you can use over and over again without the guilt of a giant shampoo bottle that may or may not get recycled (even it you put it in your recycling bin).